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Nominated for Tales of the Cocktail 2008 Spirit Award for Best Cocktail Writing

New York Cocktails PDF Print E-mail
Written by Edward F. Nesta   

A look at New York Cocktails.

Where would New York be without the Cocktail, and where would the Cocktail be without New York. The history behind some of the classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, Cosmopolitan (Cosmo when ordering it), Bloody Mary, and the Martini is as long as the history of the restaurants, lounges and cocktailians who created them.

I had a chance to speak with some of the foremost experts in the cocktail field to get their inputs on their favorite New York cocktail, and the bar(s) that serve them, and trends within the cocktail scene. (All cocktail recipes, if available, are listed at the end)

I am honored to lead off with Gary Regan, who is known the world over as a master cocktailian and who I had the chance to learn firsthand about the making of a cocktail while taking his extraordinary seminar Gary Regan’s Cocktails in the Country, which you can read about in Luxury Experience magazine in the Liquor Cabinet section - Cocktails in the Country. Gary’s favorite cocktail is the Manhattan, and as he states in his book - The Joy of Mixology, “the Manhattan, when properly constructed, is the finest drink on the face of the earth.” Gary continues to see a movement towards ingredients from the kitchen in cocktails, for example – Rhubarb Daiquiri, Sage Martini and cocktails made with hibiscus syrup.

Next I have King Cocktails, Dale DeGroff, who Martha Stewart calls “A Master”, and who is the author of the book, The Craft of the Cocktail.  Luxury Experience Magazine wrote about Dale during his appearance at the Southern Comfort 2nd Annual Tales of the Cocktail held in New Orleans; the article may be found in the Liquor Cabinet section - Tales of the Cocktail. When asked to name his favorite New York cocktail, he responded, “It depends on the bar.” So let’s start with the Pisco Sour from Freeman’s Alley; followed by the Queens Park Swizzle from Milk and Honey or their sister bar Little Branch; there is the Lilikoi from Flatiron Lounge NYC, and to round out the evening an amazing dessert cocktail called Pietinis from the Dylan Prime Restaurant and Bar. Dale has been very happy to see that many bartenders are switching over to fresh lemon and lime juice instead of sour mixes for their cocktails, which Dale feels is the most important change in 35 years on the cocktail scene.

I was happy to catch up with author, James Waller, who wrote drink’-ol-o-gy: The Art and Science of the Cocktail. James’s favorite cocktail is the Manhattan, and he likes the traditional Manhattan made at Blue Bar in the Algonguin Hotel, and the Manhattan made at Temple Bar in Soho. Looking at trends James noted the explosion in cocktails in general, and specifically the movement away from sweet drinks towards savory drinks. He also is seeing cocktailians creating their own specialty cocktails from home grown herbs and homemade bitters.  

My favorite cocktails are the Manhattan and a variation from the Manhattan, the Rob Roy (dry).

Cocktails in order of mention:

Manhattan – 2 ounces bourbon or straight rye whiskey, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, Angostura, Peychaud’s, or orange bitters to taste (start with 2 dashes and adjust), 1 maraschino cherry, for garnish. (From the Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan)

Cosmopolitan – citrus vodka, triple sec, fresh lime juice, dash of cranberry juice (for color) and lime wedge, for garnish.

Bloody Mary – vodka, tomato juice, fresh lemon juice, black pepper, salt, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon wedge and celery stalk for garnish.

Martini – 2 ½ ounces of gin or vodka, ½ ounce dry vermouth, 1 olive or lemon twist, for garnish.

Rhubarb Daiquiri – rum, rhubarb juice, simple syrup, and piece of rhubarb, for garnish.

Sage Martini – vodka, dry vermouth, piece of sage

Pisco Sour – Chilean Pisco Aba fresh lime juice, simple syrup and Angostura bitters.

Queen’s Park Swizzle – Rum, fresh lime juice, mint leaves, Velvet Falernum and bitters.

Lilikoi – Silver tequila, Maui Lilikoi, fresh mango and a blend of fresh citrus.

Pietinis – no recipe available, so please travel to New York and try one for your self at the Dylan Prime Restaurant and Bar.

Rob Roy (dry) – 2 ounces scotch, 1 ounce dry vermouth, Peychaud’s bitters to taste (optional), and 1 lemon twist, for garnish. (From the Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan)

Additional New York Cocktails:

The New York Cocktail – whiskey, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, dash of grenadine and a lemon twist, for garnish.

The Bronx Cocktail – gin, sweet vermouth, orange juice, orange bitters, and an orange twist, for garnish.

The Brooklyn Cocktail – rye, sweet vermouth, dash of maraschino cherry juice, and a lemon twist, for garnish.

© August 2005. Luxury Experience All rights reserved.

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